AP's Michael Casey explains the two-stroke penalty Tiger Woods received for taking embedded ball relief in sand, even though playing partner Martin Kaymer agreed the ball was embedded.
McFee said the rule was clear and that Woods never challenged him on it after the round. It came to light when a spectator alerted the European Tour to the infraction, he said.
"An embedded ball relief is through the green but in ground other than sand," McFee said. "I talked to him when he came off the 11th tee because I couldn't be sure about a two-stroke penalty until we got into the recording area. I don't know the exact spot where he was. I know the area. I would need Tiger to come out and have a look, and he was happy it was in sand."
**Alistair Tait with more on the ruling and the impact this has for the tournament:
The news couldn’t be worse for Abu Dhabi and HSBC. With World No. 1 Rory McIlroy already missing the cut, the last thing the sponsors needed was to see Woods bow out of the event too. McIlroy and Woods are estimated to have been paid in the region of some $4 million to turn up in Abu Dhabi.
"I didn't know the rule either. Tough for Tiger. Tough for the tournament," said McIlroy.
**M. Satya Narayan says the question of Tiger's embedded ball was raised by spectators, based on what she was told from European Tour officials.
Clarifying the penalty, European Tour Chief Referee McPhee said the incident had been brought to his attention by some spectators.
“Spectators spoke to a referee to say they were curious as to why the drop was given. I don’t actually think they realised what can they were opening. And the referee said ‘well, you know, it would likely be an embedded ball’. But then, when he went to look at the area, he thought to himself ‘I’m not so sure I would give that’. So then he called me and I went and had a look at it, and for sure, there’s no question about it the ball was embedded in sand.”
Bob Harig notes that it was "a writer following the group asked a rules official about the situation."
On Twitter, Golfweek's Alistair Tait Tweeted that he simply asked a question of an official in trying to clarify what the drop was for. The situation then snowballed from there when European Tour officials realized there might have been a violation.